Rocco’s Pizza Lounge new place to dine in Downtown Dadeland

By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld….

Rocco Di Martino Jr. manages Rocco’s Pizza Lounge.

There is a new place to eat in Downtown Dadeland. It’s called Rocco’s Pizza Lounge and it is the type of place that can satisfy someone’s ever changing moods. Although it only has been open a few months, Rocco’s is starting to create some buzz.

“We’re getting a good family crowd and later it’s a different crowd,” says manager Rocco Di Martino Jr. “We purposefully did it that way. After 10 p.m. we’re trying to push for more bar lounge sales.”

Rocco’s is owned by the Di Martino family, which also owns Krissals near The Falls and Di Napoli Italian Restaurant in Pinecrest.

Because Rocco’s is located in Downtown Dadeland, at 8865 SW 72 Place, the lunch crowd is business oriented, either workers in from the offices nearby or shoppers from Dadeland. In the early afternoon/evening, families come in with their children and then later in the evening, when twentysomethings are heading out, the crowd becomes more adult.

To satisfy such a diverse customer base, the menu is eclectic enough to accommodate whatever group comes in. It has some traditional Italian entrees — Panini, salads, burgers and pasta as well as an extensive cocktail menu.

It offers pizzas made in wood burning ovens, tapas, calzones, Panini’s, pasta and salads. The Napolitan style pizzas are made with imported flour and homemade fresh mozzarella. They are innovative, featuring non-traditional delicious combinations. For example they have a Pizza con Figi, which features figs, prosciutto, gorgonzola cheese, balsamic and arugula.

“Most people pick from the specials but if you want to add or take away we’ll do that,” Di Martino said.

Burgers have been a big hit at Rocco’s. A favorite is the Burger Ammassato, which is a homemade patty stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese, onions and mushrooms served on a brioche roll with pesto Mayonnaise.

Di Martino says they use the finest ingredients while still maintaining good prices. Rocco’s also features daily specials — they have different specials at night — and an $8.95 lunch menu.

“They do tapas, and they have great one size or one serving pizzas that are more gourmet than Di Martino’s,” said Nancy Hartner, who loves to eat at all three Di Martino-owned restaurants. “Rocco’s has a whole different feel. The lighting at Rocco’s is so wonderful, you can’t help but look beautiful.”

Hartner said she likes how someone can hang out at the bar that’s separate from the restaurant area.

“It’s an interesting place to hang,” she said. “It’s large enough to accommodate parties.”

She recently celebrated her birthday at Rocco’s and they had a table for 15.

Rocco’s is adding destination events to its calendar. They’ve had an Open Mic party and they’ve had comedy acts and Lady’s Night as a way to draw in new customers. Di Martino says Rocco’s has been considered a place for dinner and they want to be known as a place to go later in the evening as well.

At this point, customers are finding Rocco’s, and once they do, they are coming back.

“We’ve been extremely happy with the amount of return customers,” Di Martino said.

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